On Fri, 14 Oct 1994 16:56:09 -0300 (ADT) Bill Silvert
Note: I'm in charge of the machine on which the list Bill refers to is
run. I am *not* in charge of the list, just the machine on which it runs.
But, because of that, I've been cc:ed on quite a lot of messages between
Bill and Aldo.
>I've run into this personally and the future implications are scary.
>Earlier this year I set up a mailing list in collaboration with a young
In what way is it relevant that Aldo is young and "foreign"? Would it
make any difference if he were Canadian?
>After a short time we had a falling out and he moved the list to another
>site, by simply copying all the addresses.
Perhaps because you are a foreigner :-), you conveniently forget to
mention that your list was not working well, and was moved just a few
days after its creation.
>Several months ago he decided that he didn't want me and a number of
>other scientists on the list and summarily deleted us (although there
>was a lot of personal animosity, none of us were being disruptive or
>otherwise interfering with the operation of the list). We now find
>ourselves cut off from a mailing list that is proving an increasingly
>important avenue of communication in our field.
I agree that Aldo is often too heavy-handed. I don't know the facts and
can't comment on your particular gripe, but knowing Aldo you may well
have a point. Still, I would like to point out that, since the list was
moved in January, Aldo has been putting a tremendous amount of work in
advertising the list, hunting around for relevant professional documents,
talking to the press and obtaining permission to redistribute articles on
the list, contacting personalities and making them join the list, etc.
The reason the list now has over 900 subscribers and has become an
"important avenue of communication" is that Aldo has been spending so
much time working on it. Again, you may well have a point about the way
he deleted you, but he did not simply steal the list from you as you seem
to imply. There were maybe 200 subscribers when he relocated the list,
and many were sending gripes about the quality of the service. Aldo made
the list into what it now is, working sometimes until 4-5am. He isn't
being paid for this work, and if he thinks you're being a pain in the
butt and doesn't want you on his list, well, I may not agree with him,
but it's certainly his prerogative. Incidentally, if you go around
commenting on people's age and citizenship in public, and without having
the common courtesy of sending them a copy, I can certainly understand
why he gave you the boot.
>I find the implications of this alarming. Until now I had subscribed to
>the hacker view that increased access to information channels would be a
>wonderfully democratic influence, but I now realize that there are
>frightening opportunities for autocracy and censorship as well.
>Although some of the other scientists who were cut off this list have
>simply suggested that we set up a competing list, this does not seem to
>be a very desirable way to proceed.
You complain about autocracy and censorship on a list which was started
by the same person who is now running it (as opposed to someone who
simply took over an existing, fully established list). Well, noone is
preventing you from starting your own list with your own policy. I'm sure
Aldo would agree to let you post ONE message to his list announcing the
new one, so that people who don't agree with Aldo's policy may join your
list. In fact, I seem to remember that you DID try this in the past,
although there has been so much mail on this subject that I discarded
most of it and can't check my archives. The reason this is "not
practical" is that most of the current subscribers are perfectly happy
with Aldo's occasionally heavy-handed but noise-free handling of the
list. You don't have to like it, but I don't like the way you're
attempting to blame Aldo for having created a highly successful list
where you had failed and then running it as he sees fit. The laws
generally allow people who create, say, a business from scratch to run it
as they see fit if it succeeds. You don't have to like the way they run
it, but you don't have to work for them either. This is called a "free
country", and I always thought Canada was one. Being a technical person
with your own machine, where Aldo barely knew how to send mail, you were
in fact at an advantage. Aldo worked harder, and he won. You can take it
gracefully, or you can waste people's time bitching around; it's your
call. I just wanted to set the record straight for people who don't have
any knowledge of the story.